By Sushil Kutty
The Congress party says the BJP-led Modi government “tutored” Padma Shri awardee Shah Rasheed Ahmed Quadri of Bidar in Karnataka to praise Prime Minister Narendra Modi in lieu for the Padma Shri, which had been eluding the master Bidri craftsman for years despite investing Rs 12,000 every year, for 10 years in a row, in preparing portfolios to submit along with the application for the Padma award.
Finally, much to Quadri’s astonishment, the Padma Shri was conferred on him this year without him even applying for it. “I did not apply this year, I had reached my patience’s end. But I got the call on January 25. My Padma award is a surprise award. I couldn’t stop the tears for two nights. Prime Minister Narendra Modi proved me wrong. I owe him. I will get my entire family to vote for the BJP,” the Muslim from Bidar, Karnataka, said and then it became the talk of the town.
The question is should we take Quadri’s glowing thanks to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and run with it as if the entire Muslim community would pick up this one positive endorsement for Narendra Modi and forgive Modi all the alleged wrongs he had done to the Muslim? Has Prime Minister Narendra Modi finally got a makeover and proved every last Muslim Indian “wrong”? Will the grateful outpourings of a single Muslim Indian help erase history?
Has Shah Rasheed Ahmed Quadri’s statement “he proved me wrong” given a clean chit to Narendra Modi, one which the Prime Minister will value and rate higher than the Supreme Court’s clean chit? Just like Quadri couldn’t have expected this one coming, Prime Minister Narendra Modi must also have not imagined a Muslim telling the world that, of all the people, Narendra Modi, had proved the Muslim wrong.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi must be most grateful. Also in a pretty generous mood. For Muslims, this is the time to strike. The iron is hot. After years and years in the Muslim dock, Modi has emerged as a Muslim-loving ex-RSS pracharak; one who has seen the light at the end of the tunnel! One who has also found his true “people”. Modi can now be trusted like one born to the faith, a believer! Now, it is just a matter of handing him the skullcap, which he had once refused?
Over 700 years separate Modi from the Mughals. The Mughals were invaders. And Narendra Modi was repeatedly reminded that he wasn’t any better. That his record in Gujarat vis a vis Muslims wasn’t better than that of the Muslim invaders vis a vis Hindustan. But, perhaps, not anymore. In the BJP mind, as also in the Prime Minister’s mind, the Pasmanda Muslim community that Modi has been wooing, had finally accepted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the next best thing to a Padma award!
Erasing a few lines of Mughal history from school text books and the Mughals were removed from history’s memory. Similarly conferring one Padma award got Narendra Modi a clean coat of arms from the Muslim Ummah! How absurd can that be? There are too many positive things associated with the Mughals in the Muslim mind to ever erase them.
Just as similarly, there are too many negative things associated with Modi in the Muslim mind to erase them and for them to move on as if nothing had happened. The mosques and madrasas have been too full of Modi talk and Gujarat 2002 for Modi to ever get erased from the Muslim mind. Confusing the Muslim with the Hindu is perhaps the blunder anybody can make. And the BJP, scrounging and scavenging for every single vote, is doing just that.
The Congress is needlessly getting agitated. BJP leaders sharing a video in which Quadri is praising the Prime Minister does not make a difference to the Muslim mindset vis a vis Modi. Given a choice, Muslims will not vote for the BJP. Period. People are reading too much in one video. And the mainstream media is playing along. But then, as far as the media goes, there’s no end to the media’s idolatry, is there? Quadri’s “Modi proved me wrong” will not make a difference to the way Muslims have been voting in Karnataka.
True, ace craftsmen want to be appreciated and noticed; also honoured and awarded. And one of the honoured might even bow down in deference and promise to pay back, but that should not be taken as if everybody in the community will herd-like fall in line? Just like one swallow does not make a summer, one Quadri wouldn’t make a summer of Muslim votes for the BJP. Let Prime Minister Narendra Modi prove this wrong. (IPA Service)